A crossbow is a shooting device (range weapon) with a bow-like structure fixed to a rail and stock that launches a projectile (bolt) at a target using an elastic mechanism and string. The crossbow was developed as a military weapon thousands of years ago. It came into wide use as a siege weapon in the middle ages. It fell out of favor for military use after the invention of firearms. And today, it is used for hunting.
The crossbow has an ease-of-use advantage over vertical bows. While a vertical bow takes long hours of practice over many months or years to master, the crossbow can be mastered in less than a day. Since crossbow scopes are zeroed in at the factory, many first-time users can shoot a crossbow accurately right from the box. This advantage, along with the acceptance of crossbows for use during the bow-hunting season in more areas, has increased the popularity of the crossbow.
There are two types of crossbows, the compound crossbow and the recurve crossbow. The compound crossbow, much like the compound bow, uses a pulley system on the limbs to increase the speed and power of the crossbow. While the recurve crossbow, like the longbow, uses shaped limbs to create maximum tension which provides its speed and power.
The compound crossbow pulley system, consisting of cams and string, increases the amount of tension the crossbow is able to hold which increases the power it is able to produce. More tension equals more energy. The more energy that is applied to the arrow the faster and farther it will fly. The cams increase the tension by increasing the distance of the pull through the extra string length that is rapped through the cams, which holds the tension. Upon release, that energy is pushed into the bolt making it fly faster and farther.
The recurve crossbow holds the tension in the limbs which are activated by the string pull alone. The maximum energy of a recurve crossbow is determined by the strength and flexibility of the limbs alone.
With the safety on, secure the crossbow with your dominant foot in the stirrup and brace the body of the crossbow between your knees. Bending forward, place your fingertips on the string near the crossbow body and pull the string to the catch with force.
This method is not recommended. It puts undue strain on the string, the crossbow, and the body of the user.
With the safety on, secure the crossbow with your foot in the stirrup and brace the body of the crossbow between your knees. Attach the rope cocking device on the string near the body of the crossbow. Using the stock for leverage, pull the handles of the cocking device until the string is secure in the catch. Release the handles, and remove the device from the crossbow.
This method is recommended for all crossbows that do not have an integrated cocking device.
With the safety on, secure the crossbow with your foot in the stirrup and brace the body of the crossbow between your knees. Attach the cocking device to the string near the body of the crossbow. Using the stock for leverage, turn the crank until the string is secure in the catch. Detach and remove the device from the crossbow. This method is recommended for all crossbows that do not have an integrated cocking device.
The ammunition used with a crossbow is called a bolt. A bolt has a removable head, a shaft, fletchings, and a nock. Though it is similar to an arrow, it's made of heavier materials and is often shorter than an arrow. A crossbow bolt is usually between 16 inches and 22 inches long, made of aluminum or carbon fiber, and has three fletchings (two of one color and one of another), the odd color fletching indicates which to slide into the groove of the crossbow when loading. Never use a bolt that is bent or has been damaged. Bolt straightness can be checked with an arrow spinner. If the bolt wobbles while spinning it is bent and should be replaced.
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